Sunday, November 4, 2012

Project Turkey Art

My cousin Amanda and her husband are visiting for the weekend.  Amanda is crafty--she can do paper crafts, she can do sewing crafts, and she taught herself to crochet with YouTube videos.  So I lined up some Pinterest-inspired projects that I wanted to tackle, and then waited until Amanda came to town so that she could do them for me assist me.

One thing I wanted to do this year was some kind of handprint art with Zuzu.  I love her sweet little hands, and they will never be this little again!  I'd seen the handprints made into turkeys on Pinterest (that linked to this and this).  So I decided to make my own version, and keep it really simple.  My turkey would be brown, and I'd draw on a face and feet.  I gathered the following supplies:

Crayola fingerpaints, Sharpie paint markers, 4x4 canvas, and clear acrylic spray.  I had to buy the paint and canvas, but already owned the spray
I knew it would be cute because Amanda and I agreed the tiny little canvas was cute on its own.  Everything is more adorable when it is miniature!  I should let Zuzu fingerpaint a bunch of miniature canvases and sell them as the most adorable abstract art ever!  They would sell out in minutes!  Well, my mom would buy one.

Maybe I should have made my own fingerpaint?  I wanted it to last once it was on the canvas, though, and I wasn't going to leave it on her long enough that it needed to be edible.  Also it said it was washable and nontoxic, so that was good enough for me.

First, I had to make brown paint.  Which I did by mixing orange, green, and purple.  (Note:  I started with mixing orange and green and got the precise hue of Zuzu's last diaper...  yick!  Adding the purple was an easy fix.)  I rifled through the recyclables and used the cardboard from a six pack of beer as my artist's palate.  Also, I stripped down the baby.

Zuzu says this stuff looks pretty cool.  Please ignore the pile of salmonella raw chicken in the background.  I assure you that David's chicken preparation did not contaminate the baby.
Then it was just a matter of painting the baby's hand.

Zuzu says: This feels weird.  
Let me tell you, this process was much easier in my head.

Zuzu says: What are you doing to me, woman?
Baby girl likes to make a fist, and she was happy to grip the paint sponge and squeeze it, but I hadn't thought about how I'd get her to open her hand.  When I'd imagined this, she was very cooperative and docile, and not prone to make fists, grabbing my hair, or flailing her arms around (in other words, so I guess when I pictured this in my head, she was sleeping?).  Reality was a little bit different....

Zuzu says: I will now make the tightest fist ever while also gnawing on your wrist.
We practiced on a piece of paper first.

Mommy says: Uh, that's not exactly how I envisioned this.
Zuzu says: My creative process cannot be directed by your bourgeois Pinterest interests!
Then I decided we just had to go for it.  (By this time she had paint on both hands, arms, and her chest, and I had paint all over my hands and I hate having stuff on my hands.)

Zuzu says: Are we seriously doing this again?
I'm afraid I can't tell you exactly how I managed to flatten her hand out on the canvas, but we did the best we could.  I didn't get photos of this, because Amanda was assisting with canvas placement and little baby hand smushing.

Looks JUST LIKE a turkey, right?
As you can see, her wrist print also transferred.  Amanda said this turkey just has feathers on his legs.  So that's the brown smudge at the bottom.  We weren't shooting for perfect here.

After I washed the baby and myself, I went ahead and added the turkey parts to the handprint.  I didn't bother waiting for the paint to dry.

I drew the beak and the legs using an orange Sharpie paint marker (fine point) and drew the waddle with a red marker.  Oh, and I made a black-dot eyeball with a regular black marker.  Ta-da!

Pretty freaking adorable if you ask me, but I am a little bit biased.  I think we'll have to do another one of these next year.  I love those fat feather fingers.

Once it's all dry (could take a little while, since the thumb area is a bit goopy), I'm going to spray it with the clear acrylic spray to seal it and make sure it lasts.  And then we'll find a place to display it as a delightful Thanksgiving decoration and Zuzu's very first art project.


  1. The woman that owned (the now closed) Paint Me Pottery in Kirkwood was a master at getting babies to release their fists. I wish I remembered how she did it, but she got the best looking handprints. I think she tickeled the tops of their fingers and then kind of rolled them from tip to palm.

    I have a really cute fingerprint idea for Christmas. Get a big bowl or platter and add different colored fingerprints all over it and then draw in the "strings" between them (with lots of loops) and add a plug on one end (like the bottom) if you want. Makes a really cute Christmas light string. You can add a little silver to the bottom of each fingerprint to make it more bulb like.

  2. that turned our really cute!! I tried to do a handprint ornament with Livia when she was 2 weeks old and it was a disaster!! Their little fingers are so tricky :)

  3. Haha, grabbing hair with paint-covered hands! Gah!

    It turned out adorable, though! And you have a great story.

  4. For J's first Father's Day I had the brilliant idea to get G's hand and foot prints in one of those cement deals you get at the craft stores. (It's super weird how much I adore her feet when you consider how disgusted I am with everyone else's.) Epic failure. I may have used it as a frisbee. Anyway, I decided to go the paint route instead and it's become a tradition I enjoy. The turkey idea is absolutely adorable. And I will be spraying all the canvases with sealer now as I had no idea it existed.

  5. Adorable! I happen to have kid painted canvases that look exactly like amazing abstract art. And teeny tiny canvases are the cutest!!

  6. Oh yeah, the fist. Gets ya every time. Next time try gently tickling the top of her hand. Sometimes that gets them to open up.

    I also found it helpful to hold the baby like a football, legs pinned behind my back, and grab the other hand in there too. That way the only thing that can touch the canvas is the painted hand. Wait, then who is going to tickle the hand since yours are both in use?

    OK, it might take to people to hold her in the right position. :)

  7. So cute! I wish I were craftier

  8. Adorable! I was cracking up over the photos, your captions & the perplexed look on poor Zuzu's face. She'll thank you later, I'm sure. ; )